Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Dry January was my entryway to sobriety. It’s making me a better parent.

Annalise Mabe posing with a drinkThe author.

Courtesy of Annalise Mabe

  • I’m 32 and a working mom of a 3-year-old girl.  
  • I realized that after just two glasses of wine, I felt the effects the morning after. 
  • Removing alcohol was hard, but now I’m a much more present and involved parent

Gone are the days of my 20s when going out to a late-night bar for Negronis and Mind Erasers with friends was routine and left little damage in terms of a hangover the next morning.

But now, at 32, I’m up at the crack of dawn feeding our many pets, making my daughter’s lunch, and getting her ready for preschool before diving into my own workday. Now, having just one or two glasses of wine can make me feel like I’ve been hit by a bus for the entirety of the next day, and that’s simply something I can no longer afford.

At the end of last year, I was clinging to my wine glass, refilling, trudging through bedtime routines, and tumbling to the finish line on a long list of work projects. To put it plainly, I was neglecting my family and well-being for the short-lived relief: a little buzz to take the edge off.

But I started to feel the accumulation of cashing in each day with alcohol. My face felt bloated, my wedding ring felt a little tight, and I felt like a jerk, rushing through my daughter’s storybooks at night, preoccupied with thoughts of the cocktail I’d make as soon as she fell asleep.

I needed to change something up

I decided to try Dry January

So, with much trepidation, I dove into Dry January for the first time in my life, removing my end-of-day crutch that I’d been leaning onto for a little too long.

I’m not going to tell you that it was easy. Quite the contrary, the first few days were uncomfortable, to say the least. Removing alcohol removes a layer of distraction, and you may find yourself up against a clarity or a barrage of thoughts that you haven’t wanted to face. And with this newfound clarity and the removal of my numbing device, my partner and I had some honest and difficult conversations that we frankly needed to have. 

I’m also not saying I will never have a glass of champagne on a special occasion again, but successfully participating in Dry January has made me really rethink and re-evaluate what my daily alcohol intake was doing for me — or what it wasn’t doing for me — and the moments and time with my family it was actually taking away.

With the help of Marisa Iglesias, a New York-based health coach, I’m learning that sometimes we just want a drink — and that non-alcoholic drinks or a kombucha offer the same refreshing feeling without the hangover when served in a fancy flute. 

I’m also finding out that more of my friends are sober-curious, indulging in non-alcoholic drinks, which is giving me further encouragement and a sense of community on this journey. 

I’ve found that sobriety, or my sober-curious path, is so worth it. I feel more present and able to play with my daughter when she invites me to chase her, running in our backyard. Without nursing a drink in my hand, I can tumble with her in her bounce house, soak in her 3-year-old laughter, and relish in the moment, where, just as the sun is melting the sky into orange and pink, she sighs and says, “Mama, I love you.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider